In one of my last posts I shared about my struggle with pride. I talked about that when we allow pride into our lives it enslaves us and keeps us from experiencing the freed life in Christ. There is really so much more to be said about being freed. The first thing that I want to talk about is that being freed involves surrender.
I first need to briefly address the initial surrender that must happen. Because mankind is born into sin we are separated from a right relationship with God, both here on earth and in eternity. Paul says in Romans 5:12 "Therefore, just as through one mans sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned."
Thankfully our sin was overcome at the cross of Jesus with His ultimate sacrifice and through His resurrection three days later as He defeated death. Paul says in I Corinthians 5:21 "He (referring to God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him". Parenthesis added.
John's gospel chapter one, verse 12 tells us "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." This truth is good news! You don't have to be separated from God. You can know that your sins are forgiven when you surrender your will, your way, your life and accept Jesus' death for you on the cross. When this happens you receive His Spirit which identifies you as a child of God (more on this later). The initial surrender is recognizing your need for a savior and surrendering your life to Jesus.
With that, we can talk about surrender in the life of a follower of Christ. Galatians 2:20 says "I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."
Simply, yet perhaps harshly put, your life is not your own. "You have been bought with a price" to quote from I Corinthians. I don't mean to turn you off to the truth of Jesus, but I don't want to skirt around the truth of the Bible either. God saved you from being eternally separated from Him and your life is now His. Instead of living for yourself you now have a greater thing to live by, the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:24-25 tells us of this truth, "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." Walking by the Spirit is simply allowing the Spirit of Christ to penetrate every area of your life. As I'm sure you know, this isn't easy. If you struggle like I do with sin and living in the flesh, you're not alone. Paul, in Romans 7 shares that he wrestles with just the same thing as you and I.
Surrender is not easy. But, it becomes easier as we begin to see the big picture and realize that "it's not all about me" and when we allow the Holy Spirit to slowly change our flesh nature into a Spirit nature through, prayer, God's word, and fellowship with other believers.
Jesus says in Matthew 16:24 "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me". Did you notice the word "deny"? So often we want to follow Jesus but we take ourselves along too! Being freed happens when we deny ourselves and follow Jesus!
What do you need to "deny" in your life?